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Convicted leaker Manning changes legal name to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 23, 2014 at 5:43 pm •  Published: April 23, 2014

(c) 2014, The Washington Post.

An Army soldier convicted of leaking classified military and diplomatic records persuaded a Kansas judge Wednesday to legally change her name from Bradley Manning to Chelsea Elizabeth Manning.

The judicial order in Leavenworth County District Court could be a key step in the transgender soldier's quest to get the military to devise a medical treatment plan commonly available to civilians diagnosed with gender identity disorder.

The Department of Defense bans transgender people from serving and routinely discharges service members who start hormone therapy. But Manning's case is forcing the Pentagon to grapple with complex legal and personnel questions because the soldier is serving a 35-year sentence in an Army prison.

In a statement attributed to Manning posted on the Chelsea Manning Support Network's website, the soldier says she has requested that the military provide her with "a treatment plan consistent with the recognized professional standards of care" for transgender individuals. Such plans can range from hormone therapy to sex-change operations. Manning said she underwent a medical evaluation last year but has not heard whether the Army will support the type of treatment plan she seeks.

"I am optimistic that things can — and certainly will — change for the better," the statement says. "If I am successful in obtaining access to trans healthcare, it will not only be something I have wanted for a long time myself, but it will also open the door for many people, both inside and outside the military, to request the right to live more open, fulfilled lives."

Army spokesman George Wright said he could not comment on Manning's medical treatment plan. He said that Army records will henceforth refer to Manning by her new legal name but that the military continues to regard the soldier as a male.

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